Kingsley Ohajunwa: Before The Naira Is Destroyed (Part 2)

Of course as expected a number of excuses are continuously being advanced for the declining state of the naira. While some have attributed it to Christine Legarde’s recent visit, alleging external pressures on Buhari from the World Bank, others have associated it with the recent fall in world oil prices. Yet a few others are insisting that out heavy importation has nothing to do with it stating that “does the US not import too or are you saying Japan and China manufacture every single thing they need?” Of course they do. Virtually every country of the world imports one thing or the other as nature evenly distributes resources among nations and ensures that “no nation dominates the other if their respective resources are properly utilized”.

How many Nigerians, especially of the elite class spend their vacation in Obudu Ranch resort or take time-out at the Yankaree games reserve? The options will be to go to the Caribbean Islands, Bahamas or some exotic places where they consider to e “serene”. Some Nigerians even go on sightseeing to neighbouring countries. Interesting! A lot of parents will be eager, proud and happy to have their children in tertiary institutions in the US, Canada, the UK and even certain Asian and African countries. What happened to the great Ile-Ife where these parents had their university education? What fate now faces Nigeria’s university of first choice and the nation’s pride- UNILAG? Are we now saying UNN Nsukka and ABU Zaria are of low standard? Anyway the effect of these actions is in the capital flight which runs into several billions of dollars. Come to think of it the rate at which our professionally trained teachers, doctors, engineers, pharmacists, sports men and women go abroad to seek greener pastures is disturbing. We trivialize this economic and social menace with the term “brain drain”, making it look like child’s play. It will be safe for us to recognize that one of the problems of Nigeria is the continued “outsourcing” of our “brains” to other countries to use. This is yet again why meaningful Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) isn’t obvious in Nigeria.

Nigerians are known to e very social people who enjoy organizing and attending flamboyant events. In fact we’re all involved in this. Take a look at every bottle of wine at parties, they’re either made in France, Italy, Scotland, USA or any of several countries but not Nigeria. As ordinary as we may consider this to be it accounts for several millions of dollars exchanged in purchase of these drinks. So, is it that we can’t produce these drinks due to the absence of factories or are they just too sophisticated for us to produce? Which exactly? I have steadily observed as the cost of kidney transplants and other terminal illnesses increase. Early in this century when I started observing this trend, Nigerians were going abroad to have kidney transplants done at about N2m (two million naira), now it costs between a whooping N6 – N10m. Of course as with many other services sought abroad, the demand by Nigerians is high since the country is yet to put its medical system in shape to handle it. Container load of frozen chicken and turkey are usually destroyed by officials of the Nigerian Customs Service when imported. It’s really disturbing that something as basic and necessary as domestic birds for local human consumption can’t be effectively catered for but has to also be imported. If we consider the kind of chemicals used in preserving them while being shipped for several weeks, one can only but create an abstract picture of the magnitude of health hazards that await Nigerians.

While it is generally agreed that falling crude oil prices has negatively affected Nigeria’s economy in a significant manner, one wonders why the economies of some other oil exporting countries aren’t as affected as ours (by the way our “oil exporting” status is laughable since we still import finished products). The answer isn’t far-fetched. Other countries have long understood the way the world economy works. While some are specialists in agricultural produce such as Thailand; others have supported their technological and industrial arm seeing to the manufacture of automobiles, mobile phones and household appliances; yet others have invested significantly in tourism thereby attracting visitors from all corners of the earth.

It must be understood that no nation attains the height it aspires by simply wishing for it, there have to be very vibrant and robust economic, political, social, cultural and technological synchronization of factors that can be used in motivating the human resources within the country to advance a new cause towards its success. It is worthy to note also and understand that in an atmosphere where corruption reigns the above factors cannot find a common bearing for anything meaningful. Therefore, we as a people, must collectively and honestly seek means to add value to every sector of our economy to such an extent that we can attract international patronage, thereby giving the naira a more prestigious reputation before its contemporaries in the international community.

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

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